CELEBRATING WOMEN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT 2020 SERIES
Location: Durham, USA
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Ruth brings over 25 years of experience in the field of project management in the domains of financial services, state government, education, and non-profits. She is also an experienced group coach, author, speaker and trainer. Her book Be a Project Motivator: Unlock the Secrets of Strengths-Based Project Management and her contribution to Coaching Perspectives VIII were both released in late 2018.
Her core competencies are in bringing the research and practices of positive psychology – in particular, character strengths – to the workplace through training and coaching. She loves to share the best evidence-based tools and methods with her followers. Ruth’s other passion is to train others to become coaches and she is a Certified Coach Trainer with the Center for Coaching Certification. Ruth has spoken to more than 16,000 people in more than 45 countries about the topic of Social Intelligence for Project Leaders and loves to research strengths use among project managers to better understand how they can grow in influence and success.
Ruth is a contributor to several publications including the PMWorld 360 E-zine, Projectmanagement.com and Ellevate. She has been published in Forbes and Huffington Post and has appeared on multiple project management podcasts.
What is your project management super power?
That is a challenging question! I probably don’t have a superpower. I am all about using the strengths we have optimally and developing as many others as I can along the way. If I had to pick ONE strength and focus in on it, I think it is appreciation. I look for attributes in others that I can appreciate, things to be grateful for, opportunities when things are tough, opportunities to learn something new.
How can gender diversity be improved in the project management profession?
When we know the answer to this question for project management, we will be able to spread the word to the rest of the world. There are great moves afoot. Initiatives like this, women’s project management networks, more women leading the chapters in professional associations. It is about consistently putting our best foot forward and doing our best work and then supporting each other in bringing that work into the light. All too often it is other women who bring down women who try to make an impact or make a change.
As the profession evolves, what skills do you think will be key for future success?
Of course, there is a lot of focus on AI in the industry at the moment. That is a focus on the automation of tasks. The key to the future for PMs. is to learn from other professions and practices that have started to integrate behavioural science, decision science, game theory, neuroscience and more into their domains. We need to do the same. PMs primary focus is getting people behind a common goal and about soliciting good input and making good decisions. Once we harness other sciences, we will get better at both the prediction and the execution side of projects.
Of course, my personal passion is Social Intelligence! That is a great start!
How do you recover from difficult situations?
It can be tough and sometimes I have walked away. It is important to be able to assess when perseverance is the answer and to keep powering through and when it is time to pivot and change direction. Generally, though I try to focus on what I can learn from the situation I am in. I love to learn and focusing on the takeaways helps me to get through challenges.
What are your tips and techniques for conflict resolution?
See the other person as (a) well meaning and (b) a person with strengths. To paraphrase the Dalai Lama, “if you have a choice between being kind and being right, choose to be kind for then you will always be right.”
Often conflict does not come from negatives. The other person is not bad or stupid. The conflict comes from an excess of their values confronting and excess of yours. When we value different things we clash. I learned in college that the Golden Rule – “treat others as YOU want to be treated” – is the poor relation to the Platinum Rule (Tony Allesandra) “treat others as THEY want to be treated”. It takes work to understand others, and yet when we do, it turns out that it is less work than pushing against conflict.
See the positives in others. Approach them from the angle of seeing their strengths and invite them to use those strengths in a more powerful way.
Which 3 words best describe why you enjoy being a project manager?
Working alongside others
Hello amazing women of the project management world! My Celebrating Women in Project Management Series highlights your stories to inspire others, raise the profile of women in the project management profession, and to further strengthen our global network.
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